Neck Pain Concerns and Treatments

Orthopedic Neck Treatment at The Medical Center of Aurora 

Neck pain is common. Sometimes the issue is as simple as changing a pillow and adjusting sleeping habits. Sometimes, however, the pain is a symptom of something very serious and needs to be treated right away to prevent further injury or even paralysis. Acute neck pain brought on by traumatic injuries such as a car accident or sporting injury should immediately be immobilized and seen by a doctor.

Schedule an orthopedic neck appointment at The Medical Center of Aurora. Call: 303-873-0630.

An orthopedic neck specialist should evaluate ongoing neck pain continuing for several weeks. If the neck pain increasingly becomes worse, radiates down through your arms or legs, or is accompanied by headaches, it should also been seen by an orthopedic neck specialist. 

Neck and Spine Injuries 

Arthritis of the Neck

Developing arthritis in the neck will ultimately put pressure on the spinal chord. Pain will not only be felt in the neck but numbness will be felt in the hands, arms, legs and feet. Arthritis in the neck is most common in adults aged 50 and older. 

The goal of treatment for arthritis in the neck is to get back to reduce pain, regain mobility and maintain activity. Orthopedic specialists, especially at The Medical Center of Aurora, work to understand each patient’s unique arthritis progression and develop a custom treatment plan, which can include changes in lifestyle and preventative measures, over-the-counter and prescriptions medicines to reduce pain and inflammation, and in rare cases, surgical treatment methods to repair arthritis of the neck, relieve pain and reduce discomfort. 

Learn more about arthritis 

Cervical Spine Deformities

The cervical spine deformities we treat at The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) include abnormal curves or angulation in the neck, degenerative facet or disc disease, sagittal imbalances including kyphosis, flat back syndrome, and chin-on-chest syndrome. At TMCA, our orthopedic specialists typically start with non-operative treatments including pain medications, physical therapy and back or neck braces. Surgery for cervical spine deformities are considered if the patient’s spinal deformity is progressing or the patient experiences severe pain which impacts their daily life and is not relieved by non-operative treatment options. 

Chronic Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain is typically defined as pain in the neck, ranging from mild to severe, lasting more than three months. Chronic neck pain may be the result of old neck injuries or degenerative disc disease. Chronic neck pain can also result from specific neck issues such as a neck strain or whiplash. Chronic neck pain can also result from illnesses such as an infection in the throat or swelling in the lymph node in the neck. 

Some strategies for treating chronic neck pain include modified activity and exercise, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid injection to treat the pain and reduce inflammation. Other treatments than can be helpful for neck pain include massage, electrotherapy treatments, chiropractic care and acupuncture. For patients with chronic neck pain who do not respond to medical treatment options, arthroscopy surgery may be required to diagnose and treat the issue. 

Learn more about chronic neck pain 

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is an orthopedic spine condition of the small, circular discs between the vertebral bones in the spinal column. Symptoms of a herniated disc include pain and discomfort in the neck, back and shoulder blades. There will be pain when turning or bending the neck and associated numbness or tingling in the arms, hands back and legs and potential muscles spasms. 

Orthopedic surgeons treat herniated discs with the goal to relieve pain and return the patient to an active lifestyle. These treatment options can include back and neck massage, exercises to relieve stress on the affected area, hot or cold therapy and chiropractic care. Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxants may also be prescribed. 

For patients who don’t respond to medical treatment strategies, minimally invasive interventional spine surgery may be necessary. Common spine surgeries for herniated disc include laminectomy, microdiscectomy and spinal fusion. 

Learn more about herniated discs 

Neck Fracture

Neck fractures are serious injuries that can lead to paralysis or death. If there is suspicion of having a neck fracture, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

A neck fracture is a break in one or more of the seven cervical bones. The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. The cervical vertebrae in the neck protect the spinal cord, support the neck, and allow for movement.

A neck fracture is caused by severe trauma to the neck, including:

  • Traumatic falls (such as off a high ladder, in gymnastics, or rock climbing)
  • Car, bicycle or motorcycle collisions
  • Collisions in sports (football, ice hockey,)
  • Skiing accidents or hitting a diving board while diving 

 

When there is a possibility of a neck fracture, immediate and complete immobilization of the head and neck area is necessary. Avoid excessive movement to prevent or minimize spinal cord injury. 

Once the neck is stabilized and assessed, treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture, which of the cervical bones are broken and whether there is temporary or permanent spinal cord or nerve injury. 

Treatment options for neck fracture include a neck brace or collar for minor fractures, rigid braces or a halo vest for more severe or unstable fractures, or surgery to reconnect bone pieces and hold them in place, sometimes with plates, screws or wires. Surgery may also be needed to repair vertebrae, relieve pressure on the spinal cord, or remove any damaged vertebral discs. 

Overall recovery time depends on whether or not there is any permanent injury. Physical therapy and rehabilitation can last months or years. 

Learn more about neck fractures 

Neck Sprain

A neck sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the neck, which help stabilize the neck joint. A sprain is caused by force stretching a ligament further than normal. The force is usually the result of an accident or trauma.

Symptoms of a neck sprain include pain in the neck which may worsen with movement, shoulder pain, tingling sensations or weakness in the arms, headache, stiffness and difficulty moving the head in one or more directions, muscle spasms or a stiff neck. 

Most neck strains will heal on their own with proper care such as rest, heat or ice therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and over the counter pain medications to reduce/relieve pain.

Read more about neck sprains  

Whiplash

Whiplash is a neck sprain caused by a backward or forward jerking motion of the head. It is most often caused by an auto accident. Symptoms of a whiplash include headache, neck stiffness, dizziness, low back pain, pain in the shoulders, numbness in the hands or arm. There is often a delay in the onset of whiplash symptoms – sometimes up to 24-hours after the initial trauma.

Treatment methods for relieving the discomfort of whiplash can include over-the-counter and prescription medications to reduce pain, movement and exercise to reduce stiffness, physical therapy and join manipulation of the spine by a chiropractor or an orthopedic neck specialist. 

Learn more about whiplash 

Schedule an orthopedic neck appointment at The Medical Center of Aurora. Call: 303-873-0630.

Neck and Spine Specialists at The Medical Center of Aurora 

The orthopedic neck and spine specialists at The Medical Center of Aurora treat a wide range of conditions of the neck and upper spine. Our team is dedicated to working quickly to diagnose and treat neck conditions. Nurses and rehabilitation specialists focus on returning patients to their full mobility and quality of life as soon as possible. 

The best Denver orthopedic surgeons can be found at The Medical Center of Aurora. We offer the latest and most advanced surgical and non-surgical treatment methods for traumatic and degenerative conditions of the neck. 

Working in conjunction with our Spine Center of Excellence, we can diagnose and treat any issue in the neck, upper and lower spine.